Maria is 8 years old and in the second grade. She was born in Indonesia, but now she lives in Korea. [Locate Indonesia and Korea on a map and draw a line from one to the other.] Maria likes to skate and read books and use her parents’ computer to find information on the Internet.
Maria’s family moved to Korea when Maria was 5 years old. She spoke only Indonesian. Her family searched for a church in the big city, but most of the churches worshipped in Korean. The people were nice to her, but Maria felt lonely because she couldn’t understand the teacher or the children who tried to talk to her. “It’s lonely when you don’t understand,” Maria says. After a few weeks at that church Maria didn’t want to go anymore. “I wanted to be able to talk to the children and my teacher.”
Maria’s father speaks English, and he wanted Maria and her brother to learn English. So Maria’s parents enrolled them in an English-language school. Soon Maria didn’t feel so alone anymore, for all the children were learning English together.
Then her parents found a church in which English was spoken. It’s an international church where most of the members come from other countries. They understood how Maria felt, for they, too, are living in a foreign country. The children welcomed Maria into their Sabbath School, and at last she could understand the Bible stories that the teacher was telling.
“I like our new church,” Maria says. “The children and teachers are friendly. And I can understand what they’re saying. In fact, I can hardly wait for Sabbath to come now. I like the Bible stories best.”
Once Maria had learned some English, her parents enrolled her in an Adventist school, where she is studying Korean and English, and even a little Chinese. But her favorite part of the day is Bible class, where she can learn even more about Jesus.
Maria wants others to know that Jesus loves them. “I’m in a different country from the one where I was born,” she says. “But I can let my light shine wherever I am. I want everyone to know about Jesus. I want them to tell other children about God and let their light shine for Jesus, wherever they are.
“I’m glad that my parents found a church where we can worship God in a language we understand. I like my church! And so do a lot of other people. We’re growing, and our building is too small for us all. The children need their own Sabbath School room.”
This quarter part of our Thirteenth Sabbath Offering will help Maria’s church build a simple building that is large enough for everyone who wants to come to find a welcome place in which to worship God.